Lenovo chats to channel about NetApp partnership

banner_220x220Lenovo has been talking to its channel partners about its planned partnership with NetApp as it prepares its Dell EMC counter attack.

The pair announced that they would be working together at the Lenovo Transform 2.0 event in New York. The stated aim was to  bring flash storage products to market and a joint venture in China to deliver localised solutions for that market was mentioned.

Kirk Skaugan, executive vice-president and president of the datacentre group at Lenovo, said the NetApp partnership would significantly broaden and solidify  the company’s growth in the datacentre business and help to improve profitability.  Lenovo was operating in every market such as telcos, MRI scanners ultrasound, wind turbines and embedded Xeon edge devices.

Lenovo used Tranform to reveal its ThinkShield security , which it has worked on with Intel. MobileIron and Absolute. There was a laptop launch with the firm adding the ThinkPad X1 Extreme to the high end range aiming it at ‘advanced users and prosumers’. We never understood what promusers meant, and suspect an expert at the University of Marchitecture thought it up.




Ignoring customers’ opinions can lead to more successful products

banner_220x220Jan van den Ende, Professor of Management of Technology and Innovation at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) has warned that customers opinions can only help the development of some products and services.

New functions or technology can be improved by customer opinion, but for products designed to suit the identity of the user, it can hinder their market success.

Van den Ende, alongside colleagues Marina Candi and Gerda Gemser, interviewed both the business and leading product managers of 132 recent innovation products to measure customer involvement against revenue and profitability.

Jan says: “Developing products in co-operation with customers is a fashionable practice in product design. If you involve customers repeatedly during the innovation process, their feedback is not bound by company history or only attached to current innovations, which makes them more creative. Yet our research found that this was only the case when customers were involved in the development of functions or technology in a product – for example by involving surgeons in the design of a new surgical instrument. This is because feedback from potential customers early in the design process helps to create the best functioning prototypes.

“When customers were involved in hedonic innovations, designed to create an emotional experience or suit the identity of the user such as a pair of fashionable shoes or a smartphone, the reverse was true. As Steve Jobs said, customers do not know what they want until we’ve shown them.”

When designing innovative hedonic – no not hedonistic – products, asking what customers want can actually reduce the chance of market success.

Jan says: Innovations of an aesthetic nature, designed to convey emotional experience or express one’s identity, often rely on the element of surprise, which makes customer involvement more complicated. For these kinds of products, success is often the result of a more social process, with public opinion usually shaped by reviews and reception on social media. For example, who is endorsing the product and who hates it? These reactions can be hard to predict by involving customers at the design stage.” 

IaaS and PaaS combination attracts demand

Analyst outfit Gartner has highlighted growth in IaaS, PaaS and SaaS next year. There’s a real future in aaS.

After shuffling its collective tarot cards Big G decided that 2019 will deliver a 17.3 percent  increase in public cloud services, which will follow on from an expected 21 per cent  growth in 2018.

The majority of that growth in spending will be directed towards Infrastructure as a Service offerings but the analyst house is expecting that 90 percent of the customers who go for IaaS will do so from a provider that can also provide Platform as a Service.

Sid Nag, research director at Gartner said: “Demand for integrated IaaS and PaaS offerings is driving the next wave of cloud infrastructure adoption.”

“We expect that IaaS-only cloud providers will continue to exist in the future, but only as niche players, as organizations will demand offerings with more breadth and depth for their hybrid environments. Already, strategic initiatives such as digital transformation projects resulting in the adoption of multicloud and hybrid cloud fuel the growth of the IaaS market”, he added.

SaaS is also still an area expecting growth with Gartner forecasting 17.8 percent improvements in revenue next year.

Channel sees growth

banner_220x220Beancounters at analyst outfit Context have added up some numbers and reached the conclusion that the Channel has been doing rather well.

The Context ChannelWatch 2018 report surveyed resellers across 14 countries, including the UK and mainland Europe.

Brexit uncertianty caused the UK to buck the reseller optimism trend, with optimism about the year ahead lower than it was in 2017.

There were also signs in the report that the number of resellers had stabilised after a three  per cent decline last year. Nearly half of the firms surveyed had been going for more than 15 years, underlining that this is a mature market.

Drilling down into where the channel growth is coming from business services topped the list. It changes depending on area with manufacturing strong in the UK and Eastern Europe expecting retail to deliver the growth.

Context  global managing director Adam Simon said it was reassuring to see the IT channel as a whole in pretty good health as we head into the second half of 2018.

“However, despite the optimism in the market for the coming 12 months, challenges persist: not least in areas like financing, staff recruitment and retention, GDPR compliance and the threat to distribution posed by etailers”, he added.


CySure signs up Renaissance Contingency Services

banner_220x220Cybersecurity outfit CySure has signed up Renaissance Contingency Services as the company’s first distributor in Ireland.

The Dublin-based IT security and compliance experts will resell CySure’s information security management system, Virtual Online Security Officer (VOSO).  The agreement with Renaissance further extends Cysure’s international network of partners across the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the USA and the UK.

Michael Conway, Director at Renaissance Contingency Services, said:  “Every day, networks and businesses are being attacked by cybercriminals and we need to work alongside partners we can trust to guide organisations through today’s complex security and compliance landscape.  We selected CySure after evaluating the marketplace for a solution that would allow our partners and their customers to manage and demonstrate their compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) simply and effectively.  When combined with our 30-year track record in the industry, we can jointly offer the depth and strength of solutions and advice our partners need to grow their business while protecting themselves and their customers against the constant threat of cyber attacks.”

CySure has been accepted onto the UK Government’s G-Cloud 10 digital marketplace.  As part of that process, the security component of the GDPR was mapped into VOSO, providing an easy to follow, staged approach to GDPR along with all the policies and training videos necessary to complete the compliance process.

Joe Collinwood, Chief Executive Officer of CySure, added: “As Ireland’s premier IT security distributor and leading business continuity consultancy provider, Renaissance has an enviable reputation for delivering a robust set of solutions.  According to GCHQ research, 80 percent of cyber attacks are preventable when staff are trained regularly, and the right policies are in place.  VOSO is a complete information security management system which interprets government and industry standards to ensure the right steps are taken to keep data secure and organisations compliant.  This new partnership provides the potential for CySure and the IT channel to create a powerful, value proposition to keep Irish public sector organisations safe and secure.”

On 20th September, CySure and Renaissance will co-host a 45 minute webinar entitled “Cyber Security, GDPR and Local Government”.   During this interactive tutorial, attendees will learn about the main areas that make public sector organisations vulnerable to attacks such as staff and contractor changes, human error and weak internal processes.  They will also take away some simple, inexpensive ideas to facilitate their path to GDPR compliance including the need for continuous process monitoring; knowing when to engage external consultants to plug in knowledge and skills gaps while containing costs and a deeper understanding of executive legal responsibilities.

Veeam says sorry for the leaksCeeam

banner_220x220Veeam has said sorry to its partners after “human error” led to the exposure of millions of data records.

Veeam said that one of its marketing databases “may have been accessible to unauthorised third parties for a limited time due to human error”.

Security researcher Bob Diachenko uncovered the breach earlier this week, claiming that 445 million records were exposed as a result of a misconfigured server.

Veeam’s co-CEO Peter McKay, wrote to partners saying that as soon as the company validated the problem, it quickly secured the database. Once secured, it launched a full investigation into the scope of the incident and took corrective measures to reduce the risk of future such incidents.

“The exposed database contained non-sensitive marketing records, such as names and email addresses, and in some instances IP addresses. It is possible that this information was visible to an outside third party for a limited time. As soon as we validated the incident, we moved quickly to ensure the database was properly secured and to limit any further exposure. We are now actively investigating the matter to ensure that it does not happen again. As a company, we value honesty and openness, which is why I wanted to personally assure you that steps have been taken to prevent a similar issue from occurring in the future”, McKay wrote.

Students break the system from within

A report shows that most of attacks are perpetrated by students on their own institutions.

EfficientIP, a network protection company, whose Global DNS Threat Research (in its third year running), surveying 1,000 large businesses across nine countries, found that the threats facing the Education sector are even more damaging than suggested in this Government study.

The e Global DNS Threat Report said that the  average cost of DNS-based attacks in the Education sector is $690,000 per attack in the past 12 months.

The Education sector faced an average of seven attacks in the past twelve months. Cyber attacks cost the Education sector an average of $4 830 000.

More than 73 percent  of institutions took more than three days to apply a patch to a critical vulnerability.

The study found 41 percent  of respondents in the Education sector were vulnerable to DNS-based malware. More than any of the other nine sectors surveyed. In comparison DDoS attacks in the Education sector scored a quite low 18 percent.

Bloody students, eh?


Deeny gets channel role at IFS

IFS has appointed  respected industry veteran Gabrielle Deeny to drive the company’s partner business.

She will lead the global alliances and channels programme, which will “strategically accelerate” the growth of IFS’s commercial channels, an area of increased priority for the company.

The company proclaims: “With a focus first on adding value to IFS customers, this growth will be accomplished by leveraging existing channels and creating new ones all the while ensuring partners continue to be rigorously vetted to provide customers with best-in-class solutions, services and support.

“With a background in international business, Deeny has a sound track record of reinventing business models, creating customer-centered value propositions and providing leadership in Forbes’ Global 2000 companies, including Microsoft, EMC, Wipro & ABB, where she was Global VP Alliances & Channel Sales.”

So what does Gabrielle say herself?

“This is an incredibly exciting time to be joining IFS, the extension of our portfolio of solutions through recent acquisitions and the establishment of a new leadership team all point toward the accelerated growth of the organisation. Our success will also be reliant on our partner ecosystem, ensuring we have the right mix of enabled and accredited partners is of paramount importance. IFS is in excellent shape to grow its global footprint through existing and new alliances. I look forward to working with the IFS team and our trusted partners to continue to deliver best-in-class solutions to our mutual customers.”

We think IFS needs a good sub or a copy editor – way too many stock phrases like ecosystem, global footprint, and best-in-class.  Perhaps there’s artificial intelligence at work here.

IIoT evolving

banner_220x220By offering third party enabled Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-based products and solutions, industrial automation vendors have evolved to provide proprietary digital platforms via the Product-as-a-Service (PaaS) business model a new report claims.

Frost & Sullivan has added up some numbers and concluded that the trend of digitalisation in end-user industries prompted automation vendors to invest in IIoT technologies across diverse applications, and they are now looking to integrate these technologies to complement conventional automation systems and give end users better control over the systems’ functionality.

Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Rohit Karthikeyan who penned the report said that Industry 4.0 was disrupting the partnership ecosystem in industrial automation, with start-ups and independent software vendors (ISVs) partnering with automation vendors to develop digital capabilities and solutions.

“Automation vendors will aim to standardise their portfolios through M&As and partnerships, and drive growth in their respective business segments. The consolidation of their IIoT portfolios will result in the upselling and cross-selling of automation solutions and create fresh revenue streams.”

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Global Industrial Automation Market Outlook, 2018, highlights the IIoT platform offerings of significant automation companies and compares their products and services. It underlines the role of start-ups with niche capabilities in operational and information technologies in 2017. The analysis also details the market landscape of the key participants in process automation, hybrid automation, and discrete automation markets.

“As the North American and European markets are in the midst of a downturn, vendors are focusing on the developing economies of Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America. Not only do these regions have a high number of greenfield projects, but they enjoy significant government support. More than 40 per cent of the end users in these markets are small- and medium-sized enterprises encouraging vendors to deliver cost-effective products and educate them on the value of IIoT-ready solutions in process optimisation and control”, Karthikeyan said.

In addition to maximising market expansion opportunities, proactive automation vendors will also explore opportunities in:

  • Forging strategic partnerships with pure-play IIoT providers to add value to their existing offerings and becoming a single point of contact for end users.
  • Diversifying into electrification products. Automation vendors have to focus on developing solutions that will enable traditional oil & gas companies to foray into the power business.
  • Promoting open-source controllers. The introduction of app logic controllers (ALC) has bolstered the market as the system is driven by open-source programming, wherein end users can download and use an app to control a specific application. This, in turn, has created revenue streams for app developers, hardware providers, and system integrators.
  • Shifting from hardware to software and services. Vendors can ease clients’ shift to digital technologies by minimising their investment risks by employing novel business models such as PaaS, pay-per-use, and licensing.

Swyx holds partner and technology Conference 2018

First insights into a new product portfolio for Swyx partners and the corporate strategy were some of the highlights with cliffhanger endings that Swyx presented as part of its annual Partner and Technology Conference held in Hanover on the 6th September.

The conference programme, with it the audience and speakers from all over Europe announced several “exciting innovations” and portfolio extensions for its resellers. The Dutch company, Within Reach Group that merged with Swyx in the summer and the recently acquired, French Centile Telecom presented their product and service portfolios, which are now available to Swyx partners as additional revenue streams.

More than 400 partners attended the event including IT specialist trade and system houses who sell Swyx  for business communication in the SME market and compared to last year the number of new prospective partners in attendance doubled.

French Centile Swyx CEO, Dr. Ralf Ebbinghaus explained the new growth opportunities created through the expanded portfolio and next steps. “You won’t have expected the new opportunities created by a wider product range, which we can now offer customers additionally through Centile and Voiceworks – today we may surprise you several times.”

An initial summary of SwyxON, the UC solution from Swyx’s own cloud, was equally positive. After only half a year 130 partners have decided to sell SwyxON and already 10.000 users rely on the Swyx high quality of service from a German datacentre.

Christoph Wichmann, Chief executive of Voiceworks Germany, presented the online meeting solution Coligo and the capabilities of white label offerings to resellers, who will profit from further portfolio extensions. Together with Voiceworks Swyx now offers its own SIP Trunks. Managing Director Bertrand Pourcelot presented the cloud solutions for service providers for Centile, which together with Swyx also welcomed a number of major customers from Finland, France and Italy to Hanover.

At the presentation of 28 Swyx Partner Awards, the following partners were named:

• Svar tækni ehf. as TOP Partner Nordic
• TeleOffice AB as TOP Partner Nordic
• Unicom Nordic ApS as TOP Partner Nordic
• Veneco Automatisering B.V. as TOP Partner Netherlands
• Adfocom Automatisering B.V. as TOP Partner Netherlands
• IP Visie Networking B.V. as TOP Partner Netherlands
• Smart Solutions GRP Ltd as TOP Partner UK
• CloudyIT as TOP Partner UK
• Agenda IT Ltd as TOP Partner UK
• VDI Telecom as TOP Partner France
• Dolce Vista SAS as TOP Partner France
• Alleo as Rising Star France
• it2day AG as TOP Partner Switzerland
• acdalis informatik ag as TOP Partner Cloud
• Data-Way IT-Consulting GmbH as TOP Partner Austria
• ACS Data Systems AG as TOP Partner Italy
• Soluzionidigitali S.r.l. as TOP Partner Italy

CySure gets into the G-Cloud

banner_220x220Cyber security specialist CySure Ltd has announced that its Virtual Online Security Officer (VOSO) has been accepted onto the Government’s G-Cloud 10 digital marketplace.

CySure will flog  VOSO online solution to protect organisations against the growing threat of cybercrime.  It has mapped the security component of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into VOSO, providing staged approach to GDPR along with all the policies and training videos necessary to complete the compliance process.

Organisations today, particularly those in the government and public sector, operate in a constantly changing environment where cybercrime is a real threat. Latest statistics from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport reveal that four in ten businesses and two in ten charities have experienced a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months.  However, only 27 percent of businesses and 21 per cent  of charities have a formal cyber security policy or set of policies in place.

Joe Collinwood, Chief Executive Officer of CySure said, “Research from GCHQ reveals that 80 percent of cyber-attacks are easily prevented when staff are trained regularly, and the right policies are in place. Managing risk from inside the organisation is vital and relies upon a consistent, dynamic process with continual training.  Our VOSO solution interprets government and industry security standards in simple terms and outlines the steps to take to protect online equipment and stored data at the fraction of the cost of a human counterpart.  We are delighted that VOSO has been accepted onto the government’s G-Cloud framework, the go-to place for trusted technology solutions from suppliers that are thoroughly vetted, can demonstrate clear ways of working and transparent pricing.  Our customers in the public sector can depend on our expertise to create a robust, best-practice formula to help keep their organisations safe.”

CySure’s  web-based Virtual Online Security Officer incorporates, it’s claimed,  a comprehensive range of features such as remote monitoring and secure configuration of all networked devices, asset mapping, vulnerability scanning and patching, dashboards to display compliance progress against selected standards including GDPR as well as online security training videos for continual staff training.   Costing £1 per user per month, VOSO reduces the requirement for expensive in-house cyber security consultants or compliance officers, mitigates the risk of law suits and regulatory fines and ensures employees are trained regularly and kept informed of the latest cyber security updates.

BlackBerry and Check Point team up

banner_220x220have entered a global ISV (Independent Software Vendor) partnership.

The move is the first of its kind for Check Point and includes joint go-to-market planning and selling of Check Point’s market-leading mobile threat defence solution, SandBlast Mobile, along with BlackBerry UEM and BlackBerry Dynamics.

BlackBerry’s teams will be fully trained on the Check Point SandBlast Mobile solution to resell and serve as a single point of contact for professional services and support.

With organisations across the globe adopting mobility solutions to improve productivity and deliver digital transformation projects, mobile security is often overlooked despite cyber attacks getting more sophisticated. Recent Check Point research found that 94 percent of security professionals doubt their company can prevent a breach of employees’ mobile devices.

Mark Wilson, Chief Marketing Officer, BlackBerry said:. “Far too often we hear about enterprises employing a specific security mobility strategy as an afterthought when it has the potential to be the weakest link. BlackBerry and Check Point share a DNA that revolves around cybersecurity and with each company bringing recognised solutions to the table, the partnership is a natural fit and a great addition to our ISV ecosystem.”

Check Point Software Mobile Security Solutions VP Jeremy Kaye said: “Enterprises need to use consistent, comprehensive threat prevention across their mobile fleets to keep mobile devices from being the weak point in their security defenses. With Check Point and BlackBerry joining forces to prevent mobile cyberattacks in the enterprise, we are providing the best-in-class mobile threat prevention technology that every business needs.”

Check Point’s SandBlast Mobile is BlackBerry Dynamics enabled and integrated with BlackBerry Unified Endpoint Management (UEM). The Dynamics platform provides the foundation for secure enterprise mobility by offering an advanced, mature, and tested container for mobile apps and email while delivering a comprehensive endpoint-to-endpoint approach to security. Enhanced with the SandBlast Mobile, the solution keeps business assets and sensitive data on all devices safe and secure from cyber-attacks.

SandBlast Mobile 3.0 prevents mobile phishing attacks, while also identifying all malicious network traffic to and from the device to help keep data and employees safe. It allows users to run apps downloaded to mobile devices in a virtual, cloud-based environment where behaviour is analysed and then approved or flagged as malicious. Other features include the ability to provide on-device network protection by inspecting and controlling network traffic to and from the device, blocking phishing attacks on all apps and browsers, and disabling communications with malicious command and control servers. Check Point’s solution, available now on BlackBerry’s Marketplace, allows businesses to stay ahead of new and emerging threats by extending its network security capabilities to mobile devices.

BlackBerry’s ISV ecosystem has seen significant momentum, growing 25 per cent in the last year. ISV partners have access to the BlackBerry Development Platform, an enterprise-grade toolset which enables developers to build  customised mobility solutions for every use case.

UKFast opens new Manchester datacentre

UKFast has opened a new data centre at its Manchester headquarters to cater for an increasing demand from public sector clients.

The Manchester site means that the outfit is running  five facilities in the UK.

CEO Lawrence Jones said that the outfit’s existing government data centre is filling up fast and the company realises that now is the time to deliver strategic investment and accommodate the growing demand for our services from the UK government and public sector.

“We’re incredibly proud to launch this space for our government and public sector clients and for any organisations in regulated sectors looking for a high-level security offering. By creating this facility we also expand our ability to deliver replicated environments to the public sector, which is an increasingly common demand. The addition of the AI technology is a hugely exciting step. These supercomputers are purpose built for deep learning and analytics and enable our clients to take advantage of solutions that put them at a huge advantage against their competitors”, Jones said.


US Government forced to spend on of-the-shelf security

banner_220x220The US Government is being forced to spend more money on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based cybersecurity tools and systems as they face intense attacks, according to a new report.

Analysts Frost & Sullivan’s recent report with the catchy title “US DoD Cybersecurity Market, Forecast to 2023”, reveals that intense attacks from adversaries and non-state actors are compelling Department of Defense (DoD) cybersecurity spend for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based cybersecurity tools and systems and the development of quantum computing and artificial intelligence technologies.

Defense cybersecurity industry consolidation is expected to increase with firms emphasising the acquisition of dual-use commercial technologies.

Frost & Sullivan forecasts the market to reach $4.30 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.3 percent.

“Persistent attacks on DoD networks make cybersecurity integration and new technology development necessary. There will be an increasing need for firms that can provide state-of-the-art cybersecurity services”, said Brad Curran, Industry Principal, Defense at Frost & Sullivan. “Maintaining network resiliency by assuring that people with the most advanced cybersecurity skills are available as well as ensuring robust cybersecurity and attack information coordination is a top priority for the DoD.”

Partner programmes are a waste of time

banner_220x220Analyst outfit Canalys has warned that vendor partner programmes are losing relevance to the channel.

Canalys found that 77 percent of channel companies rate partner programmes as important when evaluating vendor relationships compared to 94 percent in 2016.

To make matters worse nine percent of respondents surveyed in 2018 rated partner programmes as “not at all important”, while almost a quarter rated them as lacking importance.

Canalys said vendors must get partners aligned as the market faces disruption from the cloud and digital technologies.

Alex Smith, senior director of channels research at Canalys, said: “Partners have more levers to pull. They can provide more of their services or make new technology vendor partnerships to fulfil specific opportunities. Meanwhile, vendors often change programmes to reflect changes in partner business models and to spur loyalty, but such changes can have the unintended consequence of increasing complexity, leading to frustration.”

Consistency or changes to programmes as the top complaint, with 16 per cent of respondents selecting it among their top issues. Complexity in achieving certifications and specialisations was the next highest at 15 percent.

Canalys analyst Sharon Hiu said: “As partners develop different service models, the most successful vendors will be those that effectively help partners adapt their technical capabilities. The huge challenge is to keep programmes simple while our industry embraces complex new technologies,”

“Vendors must take action, such as investing in stronger digital tools, including integrated automation and AI-enabled capabilities, to help reduce partners’ manual administration work.”Partner managers must also become more empowered and offer personalised support for individual partner needs. The channel is pressuring vendors to do just this,” Hiu said.